Friday, October 15, 2010

The Art of Collage

After reading William S. Burrughs The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin, I got inspired by the idea that not only can you make a collage of pictures or films, texts can also be rearranged and made into something new. As the article stated, "The cut-up method brings writers the collage, which has been used by painters for 50 years," the actual cut-up poem is exactly the art of collage. I found this cut-up poem from blogger Anna Lea's blog, people can grasp the idea of the relationship between cut-up poems and collage.
cut-up poems 4 by Anna Lea

The art of collage relates tightly to the art of found material. The idea brought collage to the modern media level. Bill Morrison's Decasia is an example of transforming random found material into art. Bill Morrison expressed his obsession to melted film by putting pieces of melted film together and transforming the mass into a whole new theatrical  experience. Judging from the entertaining aspect of the movie, I personally think Decasia is a piece of crap. It brought no enjoyment and excitement to me when I saw it, instead it made me want to escape from the theater and take a long drag of smoke to shake off the terrible disturbing image in my head. However, if you look at the film from the perspective of an artist, it actually expressed Morrison's fond for the art of decaying and fully reached its aesthetic purpose for himself. It is a nicely done piece of collage on film.

Because the art of collage involves a large amount of found material, copyright issues are inevitable in modern society. Personally I don't think art could be restrained by any of those commercialized titles like copyright or terms of fair use. However in reality, relative cases in regarding to copyright issues happened all the time. In 2005, a Chinese college student made a parody of the movie The Promise by director Chen Kaige with large amount of actual footage from the film. The parody got popular over the night, it seemed like every Chinese people who had an Internet accessible computer had heard of or seen it. The director ended up suing the student for copyright violation because it actually got more popular than the film. People ended up just watching the parody but not the film to get a sense of The Promise. I think the parody itself should be categorized as an independent piece of art because it was conveying a different idea. However, in the commercialized filed of film in China, it still could not be accepted by professional filmmakers.

Here is the parody of The Promise. ( it is in Chinese, but just get a sense of what it is)

Also I found this super hilarious Friday the 13th Parody on YouTube. It has the original footage of the movie, in addition, the artist has added sitcom laugh soundtrack in it. It is a total comedy now. Enjoy.


  1. So you thought Decasia wasn't entertaining, but thought it was a nice collage of images? So you are not entertained by collages? I didn't really think the film was entertaining per se, but I thought it could be beautiful. I feel like the idea of using a "cut up" method as an art form is interesting, but is not something I would personally want to do, which is why I was surprised that I really liked the example of cut up poetry you provided! Do you like the idea of "mashing up" images or words to create art? I couldn't extract a final opinion on the matter from this post.

  2. There is a difference between the parodies of films and transforming through collage, remix or cut-up method media into something new as Morrison did with Decasia. He wove together a narrative about human struggle and mortality and made connections of human decay to the decay of the nitrate film.